One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The mature motile male sex cell of an animal, by which the ovum is fertilized, typically having a compact head and one or more long flagella for swimming.
- ‘The testes in your body are continuously producing hundreds of millions of reproductive cells called spermatozoa.’
- ‘The seminal plasma of mammals is a complex fluid, which serves as a carrier for the spermatozoa in their journey from the male testes to their target, the female uterus.’
- ‘Mutated DNA can only be passed to the next generation if it is present in a germ cell such as spermatozoa and ova, each of which contribute half of the DNA of the new organism.’
- ‘We rather think of the latter as a new form of life to whose nature both the ovum and the spermatozoon have made significant contributions.’
- ‘Is it wrong to employ existing techniques of sperm filtration, separating androgenic from gynogenic spermatozoa, and fertilising eggs with the desired type?’
Mid 19th century: from Greek sperma, spermat- ‘seed’ + zōion ‘animal’.
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